What Makes Turkey Attractive to Bollywood Filmmakers, and Tourists Too…

Bollywood in Turkey: Popular Hindi films shot in this country, and the importance of Turkish market for Bollywood films.

Bollywood is keen on exploring untapped locales, both in India as well as abroad, to lend that exotic touch to their films. Turkey is one such place where Bollywood filmmakers are turning to lately.

Turkey has a certain visual charm, is exotic, and has an old world appeal to it. Besides, the co-operation extended by the country & the helpful locals makes it easier to shoot in that country.

Istanbul, a city spanning two continents and the site of several civilizations throughout history, draws attention of international filmmakers, thanks to its cultural and historical significance. A couple of James bond movie have already been shot here, and now its Bollywood that is keen to shoot here.

Huma Qureshi in Turkey…

Bollywood Movies Shot in Turkey

One of the main reasons that Indian filmmakers are so excited about Turkey is because it has several new things to offer to the Indian audience, besides of-course the ease of shooting there. Places like Switzerland & Bangkok have been done to death on the screen, whereas Turkey provides that exciting novel factor to the audience. The audience always want to see something that they haven’t seen before and Turkey has many such exotic and untapped locales making it an ideal destination for film shoots.

Popular Hindi movies which were shot in Turkey include Baby, Guru, Ek Tha Tiger, Mission Istanbul, Ajab Prem Ki Gajab Kahani, Game & Race 2.

Akshay Kumar’s terrorism based movie ‘Baby’ had several scenes that were shot in the trams of Istanbul. The fight scene was filmed in the streets of Istanbul, and this particular shot is hot in the heritage tram of Istanbul in Turkey
akshay Kumar's baby shot in the trams of istanbul

  • ‘Ek Tha Tiger’ was shot in places such as Mardin, Istanbul and Antalya in Turkey.
  • The Song Mayya Mayya in Guru shows the Nuruosmaniye Mosque in Istanbul
  • Mardan Palace in Antalya is shown as John’s palace in Race 2
  • Several South Indian movies have been shot in ‘Cappadocia’ in Turkey.

Nuruosmaniye Mosque in Istanbul
Mardan palace, antalya, turkey

Several Hollywood films have been shot here, the more notable one being the bond movies – SKYFALL (Daniel Craig) & “From Russia with Love” (Sean Connery). “From Russia with Love” was shot a long time back when Istanbul’s population was less than two million (its around 15 million now). And since we’re talking about movies shot in Turkey…most foreign filmmakers also shoot in Malta and pass it off as Turkey in the movies.

Though Indian movies & tourists experience Turkey in the summer months, some of the Hollywood movies have also shown Istanbul during typically harsh winters. Istanbul in winter is quite different (yet wonderful) from what its in summer, and its really cold! Its definitely beautiful, walking in the cold air and seeing the amazing minarets around!

MAYYA MAYYA song from Guru

Mardan Palace, Turkey

Recollect the palatial house of Deepika Padukone and John Abraham’s characters in Race 2?

Its the Mardan Palace in Turkey!

It was the setting for several scenes in Race 2.

The Mardan Palace is considered to be one of the most luxurious hotels in the world (if you’ve not seen Race 2, check it out to get a glimpse of the pomp and splendor that it offers).

This luxury hotel situated in Lara, Antalya, Turkey was built by Azerbaijani businessman Telman Ismailov.
It’s considered as Europe’s and the Mediterranean’s most expensive luxury resort. The hotel has 560 rooms, and has the Mediterranean’s largest swimming pool, within which lies a huge sunken aquarium.

Mardan palace, antalya, turkey

Bollywood in Turkey

Like Indians, even the Turks love to watch their own movies.

Like India, Turkey had its golden era of cinema between the 1950s and the 1970s. Known as the Yesilçam era, this was named after Yesilçam Street in Istanbul where many actors, directors and studios were based. At one point of time, Turkey used to be the third largest film producing country in the world, after Hollywood and Bollywood.

However, political instability, a failing economy and rising production costs saw the decline of Turkish cinema in the late 1970s.

It was at that time, in the 1980s, when Bollywood movies used to keep them entertained, as their was not much to show. From 1980 to 1993, considered to be the dark days of Turkish cinema, Bollywood movies became a major source of entertainment for the Turkish people. No wonder, the older generation still love ‘Raj Kapoor’ and recall seeing his movies.

‘Awara’ was first shown In Turkey in ANKARA in 1956, first time an Indian Movie was screened in Ankara, and was one of the biggest hits in Turkey. After a few weeks of release, Indian and Pakistani women (actually all ladies wearing a ‘sari’) were allowed FREE entry. Saris were suddenly a craze with the Turkish women.

In the mid-1990s, Turkish cinema started making a comeback with domestic films doing well at the box office and a considerable number of Turkish art films getting recognition at international film festivals. Also, increased competition from Hollywood movies resulted in Hindi films taking a beating, which was only revived post the success of Slumdog Millionaire (it helped revive Bollywood movies in several countries around the world).

In recent years, several Bollywood films have been shot here in Turkey. Did you know that Turkish actress ‘Meltem Cumbul’ featured in the Bollywood film ‘Tell Me O Khuda’, which was shot extensively in Turkey?

Wooing Bollywood Filmmakers

The good thing is that the Turkish government realizes the importance of having Bollywood filmmakers come over to Turkey to shoot their films, as it has a great impact on the Tourism sector.

No wonder, the Turkish Government helps the production units of international movies by facilitating express visa on arrival, quick customs clearance for their equipment at Istanbul Airport, and discounted price from Turkish Airline for their cargo shipment. Also, Turkey assists them in getting VAT refund (constitutes around 18 per cent of the total cost).

The Turkish Government is also lobbying hard to have the ‘International Indian Film Academy’ (IIFA) Awards (considered the Oscars of Bollywood) held in turkey so that it can promote tourism and trade between the two countries.

Indian tourists, over the last few years, have become quite bold and are not afraid of trying out different (& exotic) locations. And Turkey definitely seems to be high up there on the to-visit countries of many Indians.

I’m sure most Indians are already planning to fly to Istanbul (via Turkish airline) to experience Turkish hospitality!

Salman Khan Restaurant

Here’s another story of the Dabangg Star, this time in Turkey!

While shooting for ‘Ek Tha Tiger’ in Mardin, Turkey, ‘Cafe Del-Mar’ used to be the favorite hangout of Salman Khan and the films’ crew. But after spending some evenings at this place, Sallu realized that a few things were not right, even though the cafe itself was quite cozy.

So the Robinhood of B-town decided to take things in his own hands.

He started with the music system, which wasn’t of the best quality. So he got a new music system installed at the cafe.

But that was not all. Soon after, Salman went for the decor and then to the menu!

Towards the end of the shoot, Cafe Del-Mar was a completely new place, and the owners didn’t mind a bit.

In fact they were so touched by his gesture that they decided to rename the cafe from ‘Cafe Del-Mar’ to – of course – ‘Salman Khan Cafe’!

I’m sure it will do wonders for the cafe!

More About Turkey

Turkey, officially the Republic of Turkey, is a transcontinental country, located mostly on Anatolia in Western Asia and on East Thrace in Southeastern Europe.

You’ll be surprised to see the sheer diversity found between its Aegean beaches and eastern mountains. In İstanbul, you can cruise on the Bosphorus, as well as through markets and nightclubs just as in an Westernised city. Holiday spots such as Cappadocia and the southwestern coasts offers a stunning landscape, and is perfect for trekking, horse-riding and several water-sports.

Turkey tourism

  • Capital: Ankara
  • Dialing code: 90
  • Currency: Turkish lira
  • Continent: Asia
  • Official language: Turkish Language

Top Tourist Attractions

There’s a lot to do and see in this wonderful country but here are some of the top tourist attractions of Turkey, something that you shouldn’t miss when you’re in this country:

  • Hagia Sophia: Located in Istanbul, the Hagia Sophia is a masterwork of Roman engineering, the massive dome covers what was for over 1000 years the largest enclosed space in the world. The church was looted by the fourth Crusaders in 1204, and became a mosque in the 15th century when The Ottomans conquered the city. The Hagia Sophia was converted into a museum in 1935 and is now one of the top attractions in Turkey.

    Hagia Shopia in Turkey

  • Goreme Fairy Chimneys: Cappadocia is famous for its weird and wonderful natural rock formations and unique historical heritage. One of the best places to see these strange formations is the town of Goreme, which is located among a large number of tuff cones, termed fairy chimneys.

    Cappadocia, turkey

  • Library of Celsus: The city of Ephesus was once famed for the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, which was destroyed by a mob led by the archbishop of Constantinople in 401 AD. Some of the structures can still be seen however including the Great Theater and the Library of Celsus.
  • Oludeniz: A small village located on the south west coast on the Aegean Sea. It has a secluded sandy bay at the mouth of Ölüdeniz, on a blue lagoon. This beach is famous for its shades of turquoise and remains one of the most photographed beaches on the Mediterranean. One of the best places in the world to paraglide due to its unique panoramic views.
  • Bodrum Castle: Built by the Crusaders in the 15th century as the Castle of St. Peter, its one of the world’s best preserved monuments dating back to medieval times. The castle now operates as a museum. It overlooks the internal marina of Bodrum filled with millions of dollars worth of sailing crafts.
  • Pamukkale: Pamukkale (‘cotton castle’ in Turkish) is an unreal landscape in western Turkey, famous for its white terraces made of travertine, a sedimentary rock deposited by water with a very high mineral content from the hot springs.
  • Aspendos Theatre: Built in 155 AD during the rule of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius